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Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified (PS Vita) review: Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified (PS Vita)

The Good Solo missions can be challenging

The Bad Short, aggravating single-player campaign
No save feature in solo missions
Dumb enemy AI
Control issues exacerbated by dull, linear levels
Buggy MP made even worse with too-small maps

The Bottom Line Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified is a huge disappointment that does nothing right.

2.5 Overall

Since the PS Vita is in dire need of a good shooter to take advantage of its nifty two-sticks setup, you would think that a Call of Duty game to mark the arrival of Black Ops II on the system's big-console brothers would be just the ticket. You would think wrong. Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified is a ticket to nothing but aggravation. This sad excuse for a portable first-person shooter shoots itself in the foot over and over again. Single-player is repetitive and annoying; multiplayer is a stripped-down waste of time. And various bugs, missing features, and other egregious flaws kick in their own contributions toward wasting a few hours of your life that you will never get back.

Anonymous, robotic enemies are the main component in single-player operations.

Declassified masquerades as a fully featured shooter, but in reality the game is anything but. Solo modes of play are lacking in every respect. The campaign option is highlighted by Operations, which consists of separate historic missions with series protagonists Alex Mason and Frank Woods going back all the way to commando operations during the Vietnam War. There is no story to follow. You just drop in on assignments in Vietnam, both Cold War-era Germanys, Nicaragua, and Afghanistan, usually in the midst of some bloody craziness, and kill a mass of enemies while swearing lustily about the injustice of it all.

None of these jobs are interesting. All you do is plod down narrow corridors and shoot your way through choke points held by armies of identical enemies. The other two single-player choices are Time Trial and Hostiles, both dreadfully dull exercises. In the former, you race around shooting targets on training grounds, while in the latter you simply try to survive against waves of bad guys.

Artificial intelligence is a mix of rank stupidity and supernatural skills. So you get bad guys anticipating your arrival by blasting away long before you even pop your head around the corner. And you get bad guys who stand there dumbfounded while you shoot them in the head, or who empty clips into the scenery with the accuracy of stormtroopers with pink eye. Foes are mostly identical in each level. There is some randomness with weapons, but otherwise you shoot the same baddies in one room after another until all of your cookie-cutter foes lay dead and you're whisked off to another foreign hellhole to do it all again. Animations match this robotic atmosphere; these clone enemies stutter-step like automatons and do little more than stand straight to return fire or freeze behind cover.

Anonymous, robotic enemies are the main component in single-player operations.

While you are faced with a lot of enemies that provide a reasonably hard fight even on the easier difficulty settings, most of the challenge comes from design flaws. Maps consist of drab linear hallways leading to rooms stockpiled with gangs of enemies awaiting your arrival. There is a fair bit of detail, some of it even attractive in a war-torn way. But there isn't any time to appreciate the surroundings when you're a rat stuck in a maze. Occasionally you do something a little offbeat, like blow up objectives or detonate a door, but that's about it.

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